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"Lord, I don't ask that I should win, but please, please don't let me finish behind Akabusi."

Innocent Egbunike's prayer at the 1988 Olympics

Belazel

I have chosen Bezalel…and I have filled with the spirit of God, with wisdom, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills Exodus 31:2-3 (See also Exodus 28:3, 31:4-5, 35:30-35

One of the marketing slogans of the US golf tour is “These guys are good”. And whether it is:

A Ronaldo free-kick, a Messi dribble, Clint Dempsey’s mesmerising clip for Fulham’s winning goal against Juventus, a Federer ace or an Agassi return, a Tendulkar cover drive or an Usain Bolt sprint there is so much skill to admire in sport.

Bezalel was skilled in making things and he played a key part in the design and production of artefacts for worship. And the passage says that the source of all his gifts was God.

I can see no reason to see the source of Ronaldo’s gifts as any different from the source of Bezalel’s. Both are reflections of our creative creator God.

Jurgen Moltmann describes sportspeople’s gifts like this:

“In athletics and games one attempts not to make something but to present oneself. Athletes and players are not technicians but artists. They do not produce something that someone can use; they produce something at which one can rejoice…Whoever rides a horse should not ride for Germany but because he or she likes to ride and ride well”.

The next time you see a piece of supreme sporting skill, thank God for it and pray that the author of the piece of skill, might recognize its source.

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